MusicRowPics: Mary Sarah Builds ‘Bridges’ On New Project

Mary Sarah. Photo: Jim McGuire

Mary Sarah. Photo: Jim McGuire

While still in her teens, Mary Sarah has achieved milestones many artists spend a lifetime dreaming about. Mary Sarah made her debut on the Grand Ole Opry on April 17. Her new project, Bridges, released on the singer’s own 144 Entertainment, features the singer-songwriter collaborating with Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson, Ray Price, Merle Haggard, Lynn Anderson, The Oak Ridge Boys, Tanya Tucker, Vince Gill, Ronnie Milsap, Neil Sedaka and more.

Bridges was nearly three years in the making. The Texas-raised Mary Sarah worked with executive producer Freddy Powers, who had worked with Nelson, Tucker and Haggard. She also teamed with Parton’s manager and producer Kent Wells, who brought Parton to the project. “I’ve always been a fan of both contemporary and traditional Country music,” says Mary Sarah, who gave MusicRow a preview of tunes from the project during a recent visit, including Tucker’s 1978 hit “Texas When I Die,” and Haggard’s 1969 classic “Fightin’ Side of Me.”

She credits The Oak Ridge Boys, who appear on Bridges performing their 1979 hit “Dream On,” with giving her a breakthrough of sorts in the industry. “Joe Bonsall found my music on Twitter. He invited me to watch one of the Oak Ridge Boys’ rehearsals, and to meet them,” recalls Mary Sarah. “We all went out to dinner, and he asked if I would sing at their show that evening, which was incredible.” Mary Sarah went on to open several shows for the group. The Oak Ridge Boys were also on the bill when Mary Sarah made her recent Grand Ole Opry debut. “They are like uncles to me in this business, they’ve offered me so much advice,” she says.

Mary Sarah’s voice is at once youthful, bold and laced with a twang wholly appropriate for her batch of traditional Country covers. She is already working and writing for her next project. “I moved to Nashville two years ago and have been writing ever since,” she says. “I’m looking for another good producer for the next project and I’m looking forward to exploring more of my own sound after the covers project. I fit somewhere between contemporary and traditional Country.” Her preview included two original tracks, “Thinking About Last Night” and “The Great Unknown,” co-written with considerable singer-songwriter Rebecca Lynn Howard.

Ahead for Mary Sarah are a couple of additional “firsts”–her debut appearance at Nashville’s Bluebird Cafe on May 7, and the release of Bridges on May 13. “I’m excited because I have so much respect for the Bluebird Cafe,” she says. “People are so quiet, they listen and they take the music seriously. I can’t wait for the album release, to share this music with everyone.”


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About the Author

Jessica Nicholson serves as the Managing Editor for MusicRow magazine. Her previous music journalism experience includes work with Country Weekly magazine and Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) magazine. She holds a BBA degree in Music Business and Marketing from Belmont University. She welcomes your feedback at [email protected]

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